New public TV channel
The communications regulator, has proposed the creation of a new sort of television channel.
17:48 30 September 2004
Ofcom, the communications regulator, has proposed the creation of a new sort of television channel, one it has described as a "public service publisher".
The station would be publicly funded and tasked with creating new forms of entertainment suited to evolving technologies like mobile phone handsets and the internet.
"Inevitably, in its early years in the transition to digital television, much of the [channel's] digital content would be more likely to resemble traditional TV programmes, but it would not be a TV channel in the traditional sense, nor would it publish books, magazines or newspapers," Ofcom said.
The BBC will be banned from bidding to run the new channel but other UK TV networks would be permitted, as would other media and technology companies.
"The broadband and internet service providers are extremely keen to get into the broadcast and TV space and if there's a chance to come in with some public service role, I think they'd be very interested in this," said Guy Bisson, an analyst for Screen Digest.
The regulator suggests that the channel could be given 300 million of public funds and possibly launched by 2012, the date when analogue television signals are set to be shut off.
Under the proposals, the channel would not be allowed to sell advertising and would not be based in London.
The government, and parliament, would though have the final decision as to whether to create a new publicly funded channel.